[personal profile] purplekitte
Title: One Day More, chapter 3 (other chapters)
Fandom: Warhammer 40k
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1244
Summary: Philosophy and friendship for Khornate Berserkers.

It was already hard to remember whole minutes into the past because what had she been thinking? The frustration, the rage, the pain, what had she been doing letting that weigh her down? She’d wanted to scream, to cry, and now she laughed because she felt so light and free.

Everyone looked at her like she had snapped, which was true. Anja didn’t mind. Didn’t mind anything. What was there to mind? What mattered? Very little. Why had she worked so hard holding back? She was happy. Completely. There was no past. There was no future. There was only the moment. The vast majority of problems either didn’t matter or could be solved with sufficient violence.

‘Listen up, new plan!’ she roared over the sounds of their last frak grenades and of bolters drawing nearer. ‘With the heavy weaponry out, we can’t hold this position. The infantry needs to get out of here.’

‘We don’t retreat. We’re the Petran Freedmen of the 203rd Expeditionary fleet. Maybe other Army regiments are cowards, but we follow the World Eaters.’

‘I don’t care.’ This got her a lot more crazy looks. Anja was firm but polite unless someone was being too stupid to live; she didn’t snap at people. ‘Here’s what happens: you fall back, I hold them while you go. You live.’

‘Sarge, you’re good, but you’re not Space Marine good. A damn Astartes wouldn’t be that good that outnumbered. The hell are you thinking?’

‘Watch me. Get the frak out of my sight so I can kill everything that moves!’ What were they doing hanging around? Hurry up. She had things to do and they were going to be fun. She had no intention of holding herself back, differentiating between friend and foe once she got going, so hurry up and get gone so she could do that.

‘You never let anyone get left behind. The hell if we’d leave you, Sergeant.’

‘As your commanding officer, I order you to run. If you respect me at all, follow my last will. The tactics I’m about to try don’t work otherwise, then everything’s for nothing.’

Sergeant Hallkvist put a hand on Anja’s shoulder for a moment, then barked, ‘Fall back in good order. Let’s go.’

They moved slowly at first, reluctantly, acquiescing in ones and twos and starting off. There was no one was left alive that could have pulled rank on her instead.

Frida, her best corporal, was still hanging back. ‘Tactics, Sarge?’

‘I’ve been listening to those Word Bearer pansies. Finally figured out what they meant. Or something. Who cares?’

‘Taking up philosophy?’

‘Frak you. I’m not an idiot. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I die saving everyone, I’m a hero. I sell my soul to dark gods, sounds like kinda a villain thing. I would give up my life for my comrades but refuse to sacrifice my soul? No. Frak that.’

Anja shook her head. Now that she knew what she was going to do, she was impatient to get on with it. Holding still and just enduring was what she’d been doing for too long. She wanted to move.

‘I don’t see you sprinting the opposite way!’

‘This sounds like a bad idea, Sarge. You sure this’s gonna work? I’ve seen lots of people die praying. You really think you’re going to be the one desperate person who gets a miracle?’

‘Yeah. And if I’m wrong, then we all die anyway. So what?’

‘Hell if I know how to word an argument back to that. Seems like you shouldn’t haveta to do this.’

‘The world isn’t the way anyone would like it to be--it’s unfair, it’s cruel, and you know what? Bad things happen to good people for no reason all the time! If we live in such a terrible universe that we should have to choose between all that we love in this material world and some promise of immortality, I don’t see why my soul is something so worth preserving. I won’t say this world doesn’t matter. I won’t be that selfish. Lots of people are damned through no fault of their own and they get nothing of value out of it.’

If Anja thought slowly, she thought thoroughly. Besides, it sounded fun. It sounded incredibly fun.

‘I’m going to fall to Khorne. Get out of here.’

‘You’re glowing.’


‘If I ever see you again, I’ll shoot you.’

‘Thank you.’

When the primarch Angron had told her she wasn’t a slave anymore and didn’t have to ever guard another caravan against if she didn’t damn well please, that had been something. She’d signed up for the regiment right then. Fight for your friends, your brothers and sisters, he’d said, that’s what matters.

Her friends would live. Her hero would get the time he needed. She would get what she wanted. For that she would begrudge nothing, give her body and soul and still believe she was winning and who cared what happened after because all the hells ever made would be worth it.

No need to control the situation. No tactics. She was done with that. Kill everything. Hold back nothing. Enjoy it.

‘Khorne! I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. I ask one deal of you: give me power and I will give you blood!’

Anything for power. Anything. It was all she needed.

They were upon her, the Space Marines in blue. Anja grinned.

The hand that shot forward--rip, tear, rend--was black and clawed and sunk through ceramite to get at the flesh within. She had always been petite, delicate, but that just meant the easiest target for her chainaxe was straight through femurs. Even Astartes fell over like trees with their legs cut out from under them.

She could feel the impact of bolter shells like raindrops. She was distantly aware of pain, but it was as distant as the rage she had been feeling before. She laughed.

The sand ran with blood.

Maybe she burned herself out in burst of light there and died permanently. Maybe Khorne has brought her back. He of all gods is most likely to leave dead anyone weak enough to die, but he may have taken a liking to her considering how far above herself she reached in those last moments.

If I ever saw her again after that, I did not know her. Her single defining trait as a human being was how much she cared for her friends. If she lost that in the thrall of Khorne, she is simply no longer herself in any way that matters.

Regimental legend holds that it was Guilliman himself who killed her that day, though I did not stick around long enough to watch. Certainly we lived through that day and our lord Angron ascended to Daemon Prince stature soon thereafter, so her life was all she asked of it.

I found religion after that, and the remnants of the regiment stayed with Word Bearers’ fleet for the rest of the Heresy. I had a saint of my own and wanted to become the sort of articulate orator who could spread her words.

Anja’s miracle was for us. Chaos cares for the individual.

--excerpt from The Little Book of Inspirational Tales by Frida Fjallberg, Champion of Chaos Undivided

(a/n: Anja manages to die in almost the same way as she did in the AU she’s originally from, besides minor details? Why did I even bother to write this? Anja, why are you Conan? I don’t even know that either.)
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